Thursday, June 14, 2007

07.07 No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

No Country For Old Men (2005) by Cormac McCarthy
Trade, Vintage International, 305 p.

Of course, I felt like such a sucker because when I picked up this book there was a big shiny sticker on the cover promoting the very reason I bought it: Read the book, See the movie! Nevertheless, it is a Coen Brothers film and in addition I read the review over on Olman's blog.

The story weaves between several different character perspectives but is anchored by the voice of the sheriff. Somewhere in Texas near the Mexican border a drug deal has gone bad and a hunter comes across the aftermath. Shot up trucks, dead bodies, guns, drugs and cash are all littered across the desert floor. This scene provides the center point from which all the storylines spiral outward.

McCarthy certainly stays away from the traditional in that he turns the readers expectations upside down in the protagonist/antagonist novel structure. The writing style also varies with the mixed up use of fonts and his rejection of punctuation in many parts of the book. I have to agree with Olman's assessment that at times these devices come across as forced (almost like a college student in creative writing class). The real savior of this novel though is that McCarty is a highly skilled writer who can, with the sparing use of words, build some amazing passages of either description or powerful violence. I raved about his book The Road, which I also read recently. I see a bit more clearly now the reason that book worked so well was because it was so stripped down; a consistent voice and world of destruction and desolation fit his style.

1 comment:

Olman Feelyus said...

Shit, and I was going to send this to you. They wouldn't take my copy at the used bookstore because it had some slight water damage!